Today we read one of my favorite beginning of the year books, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. It has become a fav of the kids too. Many of them said they have the book at home or their kindergarten teacher read it to them. I told them that's why books are so special. No matter how many times you read a book, each time is like opening a gift. This time we were going to really think about the main character's feelings and the author's message. As we read the book, I passed around a large paper heart. Each time Chrysanthemum was teased because of her name, we crumpled up the heart. Every time someone did something nice to her, we tried our best to smooth it out. By the end of the story, the heart was a wrinkled mess that could not be smoothed out perfectly.
The kids got the connection that our own hearts feel wrinkled and crumpled sometimes when we don't like what someone says. Words do hurt. We then tried to put bandaids on the heart as a way to show that we can own our mistakes and apologize. The heart will probably still be wrinkled, but it is healing.
I, then had the kids do a mini version of this in their Reader's Response Journal.
Always Use Kind Words!
You can find this activity along with a few other things to do with this amazing book if you click here!
Including the little heart poem in the center:
Before you speak,
Think and be smart.
It's hard to fix
a wrinkled heart.
Here's to Happy Hearts!